The National Academies Press

Controlling the Quantum World of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons: An Interim Report
View larger
  • Status: Final Book
  • Downloads: 1,303



Atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) science illustrates powerfully the ties of fundamental physics to society. Its very name comes from three of the twentieth century's greatest advances: the establishment of the atom as the building block of matter; the development of quantum mechanics, which made it possible to understand the inner workings of atoms and molecules; and the invention of the laser. Advances made possible by the scientists in this field touch almost every sphere of societal importance in the past century. Navigation by the stars gave way to navigation by clocks, which in turn has given way to today's navigation by atomic clocks. Laser surgery has replaced the knife for the most delicate operations. Homeland security relies on a multitude of screening technologies based on AMO research to detect toxins in the air and hidden weapons in luggage or on persons, to name a few. New drugs are now designed with the aid of x-ray scattering to determine their structure at the molecular level using AMO-based precision measurement techniques. And the global economy depends critically on high-speed telecommunication by laser light sent over thin optical fibers encircling the globe. AMO scientists are proud of their central role in science and society in the twentieth century, and they have been rewarded with numerous Nobel prizes over the past decade, including the 2005 prize in physics. But in this report we look to the future.

The National Research Council of the National Academies has undertaken a study of opportunities in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) science and technology over roughly the next decade. The committee carrying out the AMO 2010 study, has been asked to assess the state of AMO science, emphasizing recent accomplishments and identifying new and compelling scientific questions. The six grand challenges, summarized below, will each form a chapter of the committee's final report:

  • What is the nature of physical law?
  • What happens at the lowest temperatures in the universe?
  • What happens when we turn up the power?
  • Can we control the inner workings of a molecule?
  • How will we control and exploit the nanoworld?
  • What lies beyond Moore's law?

Controlling the Quantum World of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons: An Interim Report provides a preview of the final document. It summarizes the committee's opinion on the key opportunities in forefront AMO science and in closely related critical technologies and discusses some of the broad-scale conclusions of the final report. It also identifies how AMO science supports national R&D priorities.


Publication Info

12 pages | 8.5 x 11

Table of Contents

skim chapter
Front Matter i-vii
Controlling the Quantum World of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons: An Interim Report 1-5

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. Controlling the Quantum World of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons: An Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.

Import this citation to:

Reference Finder

Find relevant information like your own rough draft from among the thousands of reports available for free at ​Copy and paste up to 8 pages of content—whether from your own draft or an outside article—and Reference Finder will recommend NAP publications related to your text.

View Reference Finder


Copyright Information

The National Academies Press (NAP) has partnered with Copyright Clearance Center's Rightslink service to offer you a variety of options for reusing NAP content. Through Rightslink, you may request permission to reprint NAP content in another publication, course pack, secure website, or other media. Rightslink allows you to instantly obtain permission, pay related fees, and print a license directly from the NAP website. The complete terms and conditions of your reuse license can be found in the license agreement that will be made available to you during the online order process. To request permission through Rightslink you are required to create an account by filling out a simple online form. The following list describes license reuses offered by the National Academies Press (NAP) through Rightslink:

  • Republish text, tables, figures, or images in print
  • Post on a secure Intranet/Extranet website
  • Use in a PowerPoint Presentation
  • Distribute via CD-ROM
  • Photocopy

Click here to obtain permission for the above reuses. If you have questions or comments concerning the Rightslink service, please contact:

Rightslink Customer Care
Tel (toll free): 877/622-5543
Tel: 978/777-9929

To request permission to distribute a PDF, please contact our Customer Service Department at 800-624-6242 for pricing.

To request permission to translate a book published by the National Academies Press or its imprint, the Joseph Henry Press, please click here to view more information.


Loading stats for Controlling the Quantum World of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons: An Interim Report...